New Delhi: Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan Monday said there is no proposal, at present, for the merger of state-owned oil and gas entities under consideration of his ministry. While state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) had last year acquired government stake in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) were both keen on acquiring gas utility GAIL India Ltd.”At present, there is no proposal to merge state-run oil and gas entities under consideration of the ministry,” Pradhan said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha here. He had on February 7, 2018, told the Rajya Sabha that IOC and BPCL have separately indicated to the petroleum ministry their interest in taking over GAIL to add natural gas to their oil refining and marketing business. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepThen finance minister Arun Jaitley had in the Budget 2017-18 unveiled the government’s plan to create integrated public sector oil majors “through consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions” so that the merged company has the “capacity to bear higher risks, avail economies of scale, take higher investment decisions” and is “able to match the performance of international and domestic private companies”. In response to this, ONGC expressed interest in taking over refiner HPCL and completed the Rs 36,915 crore acquisition in January last year. “IOC and BPCL had written to the ministry for integration with GAIL (India) Ltd. However, the government has not taken any decision in this regard,” Pradhan had said last year. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsIn the reply on Monday, he said ONGC has acquired 51.11 per cent of government equity shareholding in HPCL. “Post-acquisition by ONGC, HPCL will continue to be a central government public enterprise (PSE), having become a subsidiary of ONGC. It will maintain its cultural uniqueness and brand identity,” he said. For GAIL, it was said that the government may separate the firm’s natural gas transportation and marketing business and sell off the later to a prospective bidder. Incorporated in August 1984 by spinning off the gas business of ONGC, GAIL (India) Ltd owns and operates about 14,000 km of natural gas pipelines in the country. It sells around 60 per cent of natural gas in the country. The government has a 54.89 per cent stake in GAIL India. Pradhan also informed that the country’s finished steel imports rose 4.7 per cent to 7.83 million tonne (MT) in 2018-19, Parliament was informed Monday. The country had imported 7.48 MT of finished steel in 2017-18. In 2018-19, finished steel import stood at 7.83 MT, an increase of 4.7 per cent in comparison to 2017-18, Steel Minister Dharmendra zsaid in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. Stainless steel, flat products such as hot-rolled and cold-rolled coils, galvanised plain- or galvanised corrugated-coated and electrical sheets are the major categories that are being imported from other countries, he told the House.
CALGARY — Provincial regulators have approved a $500-million solar power project in southern Alberta that its developers say will be the largest in Canada.Privately held Greengate Power Corp. of Calgary says approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission means it can proceed with construction next year of its Travers Solar project, with full commercial operations targeted for 2021.The electricity facility is to generate as much as 400 megawatts at peak times, enough to supply more than 100,000 homes.The AUC says in its ruling that no parties opposed construction of the project in Vulcan County, about 120 kilometres southeast of Calgary.It says it is to utilize 2.5 million photovoltaic solar panels erected on about 1,600 hectares of mainly cultivated cropland.Greengate also developed the 300-MW Blackspring Ridge Wind Project, located about 10 kilometres from the Travers project, which is now owned by French firm EDF EN and Enbridge Inc. of Calgary.Greengate CEO Dan Balaban says the solar project is not one of those backed by a long-term guaranteed power price under an auction program developed by the previous Alberta NDP government.“Our plan is to finance this project on a subsidy-free, market basis,” he said in an interview.“We’re selling the project into the Alberta power pool and we’ll be realizing whatever pricing there is at the time. Our forecast for pricing on a go-forward basis is based largely on the phase-out of coal-fired electricity (by 2030), continued electrical growth in the province and carbon pricing.” Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:ENB)The Canadian Press